The Clay wrestling team put on a show for its home crowd and cruised to an impressive, record-setting performance on Saturday.
The Eagles easily outdistanced second-place Lorain by 109 points at the Maumee Bay Classic Invitational. Clay's 281 points were the most in the 36-year history of the tournament, which was formerly known as the Mary E. Kerr Memorial.
GALLERY: Maumee Bay Classic
The Eagles crowned three individual champions before 1,100 spectators in their home gym, and they posted a record 28 pins over the two-day tournament.
"We had a really great tournament. The kids wrestled very well," Clay coach Ralph Cubberly said. "We're pushing them to pin kids to get the extra points. That's two bonus points for each pin. Basically, the separation was those bonus points. They understand what we're trying to do."
The Eagles had seven wrestlers reach the championship finals. Seniors Mike Screptock (126 pound weight class), Jacob Conine (132), and Garrett Gray (285) won titles.
Perrysburg finished third with 146.5 points, Wauseon was fourth (143), followed by Perry (139), and Delta (128).
The highly competitive tournament featured 14 wrestlers who placed at the state tournament last March.
Delta senior Luke Kern won the title in thrilling fashion at 138 pounds and was named the tournament's most valuable wrestler. The Panthers also got a title from Tyler Fahrer at 145.
Perrysburg had two individual champs as seniors Micah Carter (195 pounds) and Luke Boff (182) each won titles.
Wauseon's Zane Krall captured the title at 220 pounds.
Before the finals a moment of silence was held for Cody Van Hersett, a Clay sophomore who was killed in a car accident on Jan. 12. The Clay wrestlers presented head gear signed by the team to young Van Hersett's grandparents.
The match of the night pitted top-seeded Clay senior Angelo Amenta (27-7) versus Kern (28-1).
Amenta, who placed third in the Division I state meet last year, led 2-0 after the first period and 5-2 after the second period. Amenta then seemed to be in total control when he got a double leg takedown to seize a 7-2 lead.
But Kern got a reversal before Amenta escaped to make it 8-4. Then with 25 seconds left, Amenta went for another double leg, and Kern caught him with an underhook. Kern threw Amenta to his back for a takedown and then was awarded three back points to complete a remarkable 9-8 comeback victory just before the buzzer sounded.
"I knew I was down by three, and I knew I had to go big," Kern said. "Coach always says wrestle six minutes, and the opportunity came. It feels great because it's such a big tournament."
Kern placed eighth at state last year. Amenta recorded the most pins in the least amount of time with four falls in 5:31.
Screptock (28-3) got the Eagles going with an exhilarating 3-1 win in double overtime over Ivan McClay of Massillon Washington. Screptock avenged a 5-0 loss to McClay in the consolation finals of the Division I state meet last March.
Screptock nearly won the match just before the end of regulation with a single leg takedown, but it remained tied at 1 after three periods.
Screptock was more active in the one minute overtime, but neither grappler scored. Screptock then hit a reversal with just five seconds left in the first 30-second, double overtime period to take a 3-1 lead. He then didn't allow McClay to escape to post the 3-1 win.
"It felt great beating him," Screptock said. "It helped me so much to have people from Oregon cheering for me. It's pretty sweet to win as a team too."
Screptock said he felt that McClay was tiring out.
"So I actually started attacking more," Screptock said. "As soon as I hit that [reversal] I was so relieved because all I had to do was ride him out, and I would win the match."
Clay picked up another OT win at 132 when Conine outlasted Zach Niner of Liberty Center 2-1.
Gray capped the night for the Eagles with a 9-2 decision over Liberty Center's Justin Gillen.
"This means a lot to us seniors with all the people that came out to watch," Gray said. "I wanted to go out with one last pin. We were striving as a team for 25 pins, and we busted that [on Friday]. We've proved to everybody we can win a tournament by more than 100 points. We're the real deal."
At 145, Delta's Fahrer (28-3) put Wauseon's Dalton Nicely in a cradle and pinned him with 53 seconds left in the second period. The Panthers' Jared Mattin took second at 152.
Perrysburg had three wrestlers reach the finals. Carter easily dispatched Cody Thompson of Madison Thompson 7-2 to improve to 21-1. Boff (19-1) decisioned Alec Medina of Lorain 3-0.
Sophomore Kadin Llewellyn (19-4) finished runner-up at 160 for the Yellow Jackets.
Krall defeated Clay's Jared Gray 7-5 in overtime of the 220-pound final. Krall scored a takedown just 13 seconds into OT. Krall (32-3) earned his 100th career win at the tournament.
Clay's Jared Davis and Richie Screptock each finished second at 106 and 113, respectively.
Cubberly's team easily had the title wrapped up heading into the finals, and he said he wasn't disappointed that four of his wrestlers did not claim titles.
"This is the road to state. This is a big stepping stone," he said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.